Miss Layla targets another feature mile at Riccarton

Miss Layla & Anna Furlong
Miss Layla pictured with co-trainer Anna Furlong. Photo: Race Images South

Eleven months after claiming her first black-type win in the Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton, talented mare Miss Layla will shoot for another major prize over the same course and distance this weekend.

The locally trained daughter of Burgundy will line up in Saturday’s Group 3 South Island Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes.

It will be the third start in stakes company this season for the four-year-old, who finished third in the Group 3 Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) in November and second in the Listed Timaru Stakes (1400m) in January.

In her only appearance since those two black-type placings, Miss Layla finished ninth after a luckless run in a 1600m Rating 65 at Riccarton on February 23.

“She ran a fantastic race in the Timaru Stakes, and then last time she was slow out of the gates and just ended up in a position where we didn’t really want to be,” said Anna Furlong, who trains in partnership with Shane Kennedy.

“She took a while to get into the clear, but once she did, she still let down pretty well. We were happy with the run, considering the circumstances.

“We’ve been really pleased with her in between times and we think she’s ready to go on Saturday. She won a stakes race over a mile at around this time last season, so we don’t have any worries about her at that trip. It should suit her well.”

Miss Layla headlines a five-strong team at Riccarton for Kennedy and Furlong, who will also have dual representation in the Pearl Series 2YO (1000m).

First-starter Lil Zena is a particularly interesting runner, having won a trial at Riccarton earlier this month. The second placegetter in that 800m heat was Quintefeuille, who was a six-length winner of a two-year-old race at Riccarton in February.

“It was nice to get a line on her against a proven race winner, and she won that trial nicely,” Furlong said.

“It’s a relatively short turnaround into this race, which isn’t really ideal, but we didn’t have any other option. She seems to have taken good improvement from the trial and we’ve been happy with her build-up to this race.”

Stablemate Rose Of Dublin has had one start, finishing fifth behind Nucleozor at Wingatui on March 2.

“She was just a little bit green and new,” Furlong said.

“She was the first to load and it was a reasonably big field, and she got a bit upset while she was waiting in the gates. Then she was quite crowded down on the rail and didn’t really enjoy it. She’s drawn nine this time and will hopefully be able to find a more comfortable position.”

Kennedy and Furlong’s other two runners are Iffididit in the Cochranes Farm Machinery & Pat Reardon Family Rating 75 (2000m) and Kikimora in the Go Racing Karaka Millions Winners 2024 Rating 65 (1200m).

“We expect the 2000m to really suit Iffididit,” Furlong said.

“He had his first go at the trip last time and things didn’t really go his way. He got a long way back and there wasn’t really enough speed in the race to drag him into it. The rail being quite far out didn’t help him either. We’ll see if we can put him into the race a little bit more this time.

“Kikimora’s having her first run since early January and we’re claiming 3kg. We wouldn’t be surprised to see her run a bold race.”

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